Tobi Soniyi in Lagos, Onyebuchi Ezigbo and James Emejo in Abuja, Ademola Babalola in Ibadan and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went into a celebratory mood on Sunday as it savoured its victory in the Osun West senatorial election held last Saturday in Osun State with the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee saying it indicated the peopleâ€™s loss of faith in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
It said its candidate, Alhaji Ademola Adelekeâ€™s victory over the APCâ€™s Senator Hussain, by a wide margin was a test-run for the impending general election in 2019, boasting that the PDP was set to regain power.
â€œThe victory of our party, the PDP, in the poll is a general reflection on the reawakening of Nigerians to the deceit of the APC-led administration at all levels, hence, the overwhelming rejection of the APC by the electorate in Osun West,â€ it said in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye.
It said without the interference of the APC in its current leadership crisis, PDP remained the party to beat in all elections in Nigeria.
â€œEven as we await the judgement of the Supreme Court, we urge all our members to unite in the interest of Nigerians to rid the country of the horrible APC government,â€ the PDP said.
Similarly, the National Secretary of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led leadership of the PDP, Professor Adewale Oladipo, yesterday also said the outcome of the poll actually reflected the wishes of the electorate.
Oladipo in a statement commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security agencies and the electorate for the peaceful conduct of the polls, saying it had shown clearly that all hope was not lost in the nationâ€™s electoral system.
Oladipo commended the Senator Sheriff-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party for allowing the people of the senatorial district to pick the candidate of their choice who eventually led the party to victory despite all odds.
He stated that the days of impunity in whatever form were over in the running of the affairs of the party with what happened in Osun State by-election last Saturday where the leadership of the party allowed the members in the senatorial district to pick the candidate of their choice rather than imposing a candidate on them as it was the case in the past.
He said: â€œWe have to thank all the stakeholders in the by-election for their peaceful conduct and for allowing the votes of the electorate to count this time around – no tales of an inconclusive election. We are very happy as a political party. The outcome of the election reflected the wishes of the senatorial district electorate.â€
The PDP won nine of the 10 local government areas in the senatorial district with 97,480 votes while the APC won in only one local government area, garnering 66, 116 votes in all.
Other reactions explored the theme that the APC was losing grip of the political firmament. The former Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Jelili Adesiyan, described the victory of Adeleke as the end of the road for the APC in Osun State.
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan yesterday, Adesiyan who hails from Ode-Omu in the Osun West senatorial district congratulated the PDP and the electorate in their â€œunique outing.â€
The former deputy governor of the state, Senator Iyiola Omisore, congratulated Adeleke on his victory.
â€œThis is a triumph of light over darkness,â€ he said.
The PDP chieftain further reassured all citizens and other residents in the state that soon, the tide would change and the people of the state would start to enjoy the dividends of democracy and be part of the global world in terms of development.
In his own reaction, the Senate Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the result of the by-election showed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was on the right track.
While congratulating Adeleke he said the election was a glimmer of hope for the nationâ€™s electoral system, adding that his victory was a victory for the nationâ€™s democracy.
He said: â€œI congratulate the senator-elect, Ademola Adeleke, and our party faithful in Osun State in particular on this symbolic victory.
â€œFor our party, it shows that working together as one big family, we can always show strength, achieve great results, and surmount every obstacle in rebuilding the fortunes of our party and restoring good governance to the country.
â€œIt also appears the INEC is beginning to get it right in reviving hope and confidence of the people in the potency and sanctity of the ballot box. We will tread the path of cautious optimism, watching and believing that sanity is beginning to return to the electoral system, once again.â€
The PDP caucus in the House of Representatives said the partyâ€™s victory was a bad omen for the ruling APC in the 2019 elections.
â€œThe election is a sure sign of the beginning of an end to APCâ€™s insensitive dominance of Nigeriaâ€™s political space,â€ it stated in a statement by its leader, Hon. Leo Ogor (PDP, Delta).
The caucus expressed hearty felicitations with the Adeleke family, PDP members and all the people of Osun state for helping to â€œsignal the coming end of APC dominance in Nigeria.â€
Meanwhile, the senator-elect, Adeleke, yesterday said his victory is already a signal for Nigerians to know that come 2018 the PDP will take over the state.
Meanwhile, Adeleke has said his victory has ushered in developmental democracy in the state. â€œIf I could defeat the incumbent as an opposition, it means democracy is actually growing,â€ he said.
He noted that he represented a light, and therefore, he has brought light to Osun in the face of darkness.
He said he would start his brotherâ€™s work where he left it, particularly in the area of empowerment of the people and particularly the youths.
Adeleke stressed that he would not allow his late brotherâ€™s good work to stop at any point in time.
He said he had already set aside over N250m for educational and health-related empowerment in order to assist his people.
He, however, commended INEC and security agencies for the manner they conducted themselves during the election.
He also thanked the people of the senatorial district and all stakeholders for the support given him.
However, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salaam, has lauded the government of the state under Aregbesola for creating a conducive atmosphere for the electoral contest.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Goke Butika, Salaam saluted the state helmsman for ensuring secured environment for all contestants to campaign and canvass votes for their respective parties without intimidation or lawlessness, saying as the chief security officer of the state, Aregbesola has passed another democratic litmus test.